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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Research at CHASP

Faculty at the Center for Health and Social Policy design and conduct rigorous, innovative research with the goal of informing public debate and improving policymaking and health and social outcomes. Current research initiatives include a range of projects on educator effectiveness and educational interventions, family and child support, minority aging, immigrant health services, juvenile justice interventions and health care services delivery and reform.

Educational Effectiveness and Student Outcomes

In the Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ), CHASP Professors Cynthia Osborne, Jane Lincove and Paul Von Hippel are conducting research commissioned by the Texas Education Agency to develop a metric to assess the performance of new teachers during their first three years in the classroom. The metric will be used to provide feedback to educator preparation programs, teachers, and policymakers to improve teaching and enhance student learning.

CHASP Director Carolyn Heinrich (with collaborators) is leading a multisite, multimethod (IQ2) study designed to improve student learning and achievement by identifying successful approaches and the factors that will increase success in the organization, management, delivery of Supplemental Educational Services (SES) programs in school districts. The provision of SES is a major federal intervention introduced by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 to improve educational opportunities for children in public schools that have not made adequate yearly progress in increasing student academic achievement.

For additional information about this study, funded by the Institute for Educational Sciences, call toll-free 1-855-471-1700.

Paul von Hippel and colleagues are tracking at the national level the growth in achievement gaps during school years and summer from the beginning of kindergarten to the end of 12th grade. The goal is to see whether gaps originate primarily inside or outside the school environment. von Hippel is also evaluating the effectiveness of year-round school calendars and of ability-grouping in kindergarten and first grade.

Family and Child Policy

Cynthia Osborne is completing a two year evaluation of No Kidding: Straight Talk From Teen Parents, a Texas school-based program aimed at teaching students about the rights, responsibilities, and realities of young parenting. Findings suggest positive changes in attitudes and increases in knowledge in regards to young parenting. Osborne is also developing a three year follow-up evaluation study of the Parenting and Paternity Awareness (p.a.p.a.) curriculum which is a mandatory component of the state's health curriculum.

Osborne (with Dr. Mark Regnarus) is fielding the New Family Structure Survey, a study of 3,000 participants designed to assess adult outcomes of children who grow up in a variety of family forms, including cohabiting parent, step-parent, and same-sex parent relationships. Results will be available beginning in early 2012.

Health Policy and Outcomes

Professor David Warner is investigating initiatives in medical tourism in developing countries and policy efforts to better match the needs of immigrants between the US and Mexico with medical services that they require.

Warner is also studying initiatives to improve coverage through health insurance, including evaluating the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Texas and researching options for recoupment of Medicaid funds related to child support.

Cynthia Osborne is evaluating the Raising Texas initiative that is aimed at ensuring all Texas children enter school ready to learn. Raising Texas is building a comprehensive system of care for Texas children. The two primary aims of the current project efforts are to increase the number of behavioral health consultants in early education centers and to ensure that all children receive the appropriate developmental screens to identify and treat children in need.

Paul von Hippel and colleagues are analyzing differences in county obesity levels across the U.S. The goal is to see in what ways counties with high obesity levels differ from counties with low levels.

Carolyn Heinrich is examining the adoption and diffusion of evidence-based pharmaceutical technologies developed to address substance abuse and addiction. She identifies policy and administrative levers that policymakers and treatment facility managers have at hand to increase the availability of evidence-based pharmaceutical technologies for addiction treatment and to support their continued use by treatment facilities.

Heinrich is currently expanding her research agenda to investigate what works in the implementation of health care reform, focusing on identifying, characterizing and analyzing the implications of the decisions states make in setting up health insurance exchanges.

Aging Policy

As Co-Principal Investigator on the Longitudinal Study of Elderly Mexican American Health project, CHASP Professor Jacqueline Angel is studying a cohort of elderly Mexican-Americans living in five Southwestern States to assess the impact of changes in functional status on options in care and living arrangements. The ultimate goal of her research is to determine the extent to which older people of Mexican origin can afford to grow old in light of the increasing costs of long-term care.

Angel (with Richard A. Settersten, Jr.) explores the new realities of aging as they are shaped by contemporary social, economic, and policy contexts, including: family diversity and new cultural ideas about aging, the work and retirement experiences of individuals and their relationship to a spectrum of health-related outcomes, and the impact of government on the pillars of retirement security.

Angel (with Jennifer Karas-Montes and Ronald Angel) is continuing research on the sources of retirement security for Black, Non-Hispanic White, and Mexican-origin women considering the changing roles of marriage and work. The research compares private retirement coverage among non-Hispanic white, Mexican-origin, and African-American women using multiple years of the Current Population Survey (CPS).

Juvenile Justice Policy

Senior Lecturer Michele Deitch is continuing her research about the challenges faced by young juveniles who are transferred to the adult criminal justice system in Texas. She is working with her students to investigate conditions for juveniles housed in adult jails, to examine the costs and benefits of reducing the offenses eligible for transfer of juveniles to adult criminal court, and to study the potential for raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in Texas. This research is expected to inform interim legislative studies of this topic.

Deitch also is conducting research about best practices in independent oversight of juvenile correctional facilities nationwide. Building on her prior research of oversight in the adult prison context, she seeks to expand the knowledge base about models of juvenile correctional oversight and to support and inform reform efforts to improve conditions in juvenile prisons and juvenile detention facilities.